Massachusetts Peace Action endorses these candidates for State Legislature in 2018.
*** Update, August 13: We have added three more endorsed candidates: Jo Comerford, Jon Hecht and Darrin Howell. ***
Candidates for State Senate
Sue Chalifoux-Zephyr (Worcester and Middlesex — Fitchburg, Leominster area) almost won in a three way race last year against a tax cutting Republican (who won), a Green and an unenrolled candidate. She has a long standing record of public service to her community and supports LGBTQ and women’s reproductive rights. She is back to run again and her votes will be important on these issues.
Paul Feeney (Bristol and Norfolk — Attleboro, Foxborough, Mansfield area). Chaired Bernie Sanders’ Massachusetts campaign in 2016 and became a State Senator after winning a special election in 2017. He is a strong progressive voice and was formerly legislative director of IBEW Local 2222.
Pat Jehlen (Second Middlesex — Somerville, North Cambridge, Medford) – A true progressive. We believe her work for justice and supporting a progressive agenda align with our goal of peace and justice for all. She believes in our cause to end wars and useless military spending, and instead to reinvest in our education, jobs, and crumbling infrastructure at home. Her history as a state representative and senator shows that she cares for the people and not just a handful of elites. She was one of only two Massachusetts state senators who opposed the military bond bill in 2014. She supported the Fair Share Amendment and the Budget for All resolution, opposed raising the cap on charter schools, and last year opposed the anti-Boycott bill. Her top legislative priorities are equitable and excellent education, universal and affordable health care, and jobs with decent wages and benefits, including earned sick time. Pat has been an active peace and justice advocate throughout her life as an educator.
Julian Cyr (Cape and Islands) — A new progressive voice in the State Senate and sponsor of a Single Payer bill, he deserves our support in his re-election bid.
Jamie Eldridge (Middlesex and Worcester — Marlborough, Acton, Ayer area) – An indispensable progressive leader in the State Senate where his efforts range from the millionaire’s tax to $15 an hour to climate change to criminal justice to peace. He led the Senate opposition to the anti-BDS bill in both the 2015-16 and 2017-18 sessions and was lead sponsor of the Budget for All resolution in 2013-14. He was a keynote speaker at our Building Sustainable Security conference in 2015 and was a key supporter of Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president.
Jo Comerford (Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester — Northampton, Greenfield area) is a dream candidate for Massachusetts Peace Action. She worked for seven years as the director of the western Massachusetts office of the American Friends Service Committee, then at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. She subsequently was executive director of the National Priorities Project, an indispensable research office that documents the impact of the military budget on city, state, and federal budget priorities. For the past four years, Jo was a Campaign Director for MoveOn. Our support in the contested primary election could make a difference for her, and Jo Comerford sitting in the State Senate would make a difference for our issues. She is waging a write-in campaign because the seat opened up unexpectedly when the previous senator resigned after an ethics investigation.
Candidates for State House of Representatives
Natalie Higgins (4th Worcester – Leominster) – Progressive, to the left of her district, facing opposition from right wing outside group; this will be a tough race.
Nika Elugardo (15th Suffolk –Jamaica Plain, parts of Brookline, Roxbury, Roslindale) A movement-oriented, progressive young African-American attorney and advocate, challenging an incumbent who unvaryingly follows State House leadership. She is endorsed by Mel King and Tito Jackson, has degrees from MIT, Harvard, and BU and has worked for several nonprofits.
Sabrina Heisey (36th Middlesex — Dracut, Tyngsborough) — Progressive challenger to an entrenched, conservative incumbent
Mike Connolly (26th Middlesex — east Cambridge/Somerville) — A singularly committed, energetic, and progressive political leader who, with our support, defeated a do-nothing incumbent in 2016. He was the primary sponsor of our Revenue, Information and Accountability Act, and testified against the anti-BDS bill, in the current legislative session. He was MC of the Mass. People’s Budget Campaign’s Tax Day events in April 2017 and April 2018, and has spoken at many rallies and conferences we organized.
Denise Provost (27th Middlesex – central Somerville) – A staunch supporter of Civil Rights & Liberties, has advocated for a Living Wage, and was a co-sponsor of the Safe Communities Act. She was also one of the few representatives who openly spoke against the anti-Boycott bill last year that was trying do deny our first amendment rights and has spoken at MAPA-sponsored conferences. She has recently published an excellent “People’s Guide to the State Legislature” that clearly explains the legislative process, and how individuals can participate in law-making in Massachusetts.
Sean Garballey (23d Middlesex –Arlington, Medford) — Sean has been an active and constant supporter of social justice. On the first day of the Poor People’s Campaign 50 days of action, he came out to greet and support everyone. He’s highly accessible to constituents, listens, and helps when he can. A lifelong resident of Arlington, he was a high school representative to the Town Meeting and has continued his community service ever since.
Jack Patrick Lewis (7th Middlesex — Ashland, Framingham) – Elected with our support two years ago, he has done a superb job of representing the progressive values of Ashland and Framingham and he is a much needed voice on Beacon Hill. He supports nuclear disarmament, cuts to the military budget, and welcomes refugees.
Marjorie Decker (25th Middlesex, Cambridge) — A strong voice against the anti-BDS bill in the State Legislature last year and is a supporter of Palestinian human rights. She served on the United Nations International Association of Peace Messenger Cities through which she has done work related to mining exploitation, refugees, and nuclear disarmament. She was a City Councilor before joining the Legislature and has worked closely with MAPA throughout her career.
Jay Livingstone (8th Suffolk –Back Bay, Cambridgeport) — The lead House sponsor of the Budget for All Resolution in 2015-16, which advocated for a shifting of federal spending from the military to social domestic programs. He has attended Mass Peace Action’s Tax Day rally in Cambridge to support this same concept as well as a fairer tax system.
Jon Hecht (29th Middlesex – Watertown, West Cambridge) has been a leading progressive voice in the House since 2008. He has a global perspective, is an outstandingly effective, energetic and committed supporter of justice, peace, and environmental issues, and exhibits rare courage in the. House in pursuing transparency in government. His priorities include resources for education, reforming our election system and improving civic discourse, expanding access to solar and other renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and promoting a “low-carbon transportation” agenda. He has also filed bills concerning human rights, public health, tax fairness and many other social and economic justice issues. He has vigorously supported all of the MAPA priorities such as $15 minimum wage, Safe Communities Act, Budget for All, the Fair Share Amendment, and played a critical role in helping to defeat the Anti-BDS bill.
Darrin Howell (5th Suffolk — Roxbury; Fields Corner, Mission Hill, Dorchester) is a community and labor leader, former aide to Chuck Turner, consistently organizing in the community and workplace for decent wages, affordable housing, healthcare, a fair justice system and strong public education. Employed as an organizer for 1199SEIU, he lent strong support to the Budget for All Coalition and the Raise-Up Massachusetts Coalition to shift resources from the war machine and pockets of the wealthy to meet community needs. He is a strong voice against privatization and the climate crisis.